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Anat Hoffman


Woman (from the neck down) holding small notepad that says: "We Are Equal!"

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg visited Israel recently to receive the Genesis Lifetime Achievement Award. During her visit, she spoke out against gender segregation and discrimination in Israel at a meeting with women's groups. She likened the gender segregation in Israel to the segregation of African Americans in the U.S., referring to the doctrine of "separate but equal," which was overturned in 1954 by the U.S. Supreme Court in Brown v. Board of Education. It was clear to the Supreme Court in 1954, and is clear to Justice Ginsburg today, that separate but equal never...

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Image of Yosef Kibita a young and smiling black man in a purple kippah

This month, as our partners in the US are mobilizing to fight cruel and unjust immigration policies, we at the Israel Religious Action Center are joining the struggle from Israel. We are proud to represent Yosef Kibita, a 31-year-old convert from Uganda. He is a member of the Abayudaya Jewish community, an entire community of converts to Judaism. Yosef is under threat of deportation from Israel because the Israeli government has decided not to recognize the Abayudaya community as Jewish.

The Abayudaya community has been practicing Judaism for nearly 100 years. In 2008, the head of...

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Dripping spray paint heart on a concrete wall

As I listen with horror to everything that is happening to Jewish community centers and day schools in North America, I am reminded of the questions North American Jews ask me when they hear about Reform synagogues being vandalized in Israel or our leaders being threatened: Are you OK? What can your friends from afar do to help? What gives you hope?

What truly gives me hope is when I see how many people of different faiths come together after one of these attacks to help rebuild. Things like Muslims helping clean Jewish cemeteries, and synagogues opening their doors to a Muslim...

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Seated Orthodox Jewish man reading the Torah at the Western Wall

You might not know it, but if you stay at a hotel while visiting Israel, about 10% of your bill goes to certify that the food and facilities are kosher in the eyes of the state-sponsored, ultra-Orthodox Rabbinate. You’ll pay a similarly hefty tax at Israeli restaurants with kosher certificates. The Rabbinate has a monopoly over the word “kosher,” and reaps tens of millions of dollars of profits from that monopoly every year. The hotels and restaurants are forced to pass that expense on to us, the customers. 

For years, we have been challenging the Rabbinate’s monopoly in court on...

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Reform activist Anat Hoffman being arrested at the Western Wall

One year ago, we thought we had made history. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government passed the Western Wall agreement, for the first time granting official recognition to non-Orthodox Jewish streams and women’s rights at Judaism’s holiest site. We were proud of achieving a historic compromise because we knew it was the only way of instilling social change in society. The compromise was painful for us, but we thought it was a worthwhile sacrifice.

One year later, that document feels more like a bitter betrayal. Facing a rebellion from his haredi Orthodox coalition parties,...

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